Monday, May 16, 2011

May Madness Muffins

Is May already half over? I can't believe it! I feel crazed and stressed out with school festivities, birthday parties (it seems like there have been a million lately), t-ball games and countless other things. We’re also trying to move our boys into the same room together, conquer some big household repairs and improvements, and I’m on a tight deadline for an editing project I’m working on. So much to do, so little time!

May also hits me especially hard because of Mother’s Day, which is bittersweet for me, and my mom’s birthday which was this past Friday the 13th. She would have been 60. Needless to say, she’s been on my mind lately. On May 23, which is ironically my dad’s birthday, I’m going to guest post on Frosting for the Cause – a really cool project joining food bloggers and women’s cancer awareness. I’m working on what to bake and sharing a bit of her story – so stay tuned.

In the midst of all the craziness, I have still been cooking, though not so creatively. Tonight, it was our weekly pasta. However, I did mess around this weekend and whip up some pretty tasty bran muffins. I remember my mom going on health kicks from time to time – making bran muffins and carob brownies (that didn’t go over so well if I remember correctly). I also used to beg for tastes of her Tab, SlimFast shakes, no-fat artificially sweetened pudding and other gawd-awful diet food concoctions. Of course, that was the 80s and we know a lot more about nutrition now – or do we? It seems that fad diets and diet plans never go out of style!

I’m trying to raise my to have a healthy relationship with food, but it’s hard with ads for Toaster Strudels (with real fruit), Frosted Mini-Wheats (that help you think) and all kinds of other highly processed foods are advertised as “nutritious.” It has been handy to have these muffins around the last couple of days for a quick go-to breakfast. They are so easy to make, made of real foods, packed full of fiber and pretty tasty. My boys have gobbled them up. I think I’m going to make more this week and freeze. You can also easily adapt by adding nuts or changing up the dried fruit.

Orange Cranberry Bran Muffins
(Adapted from a bread recipe on my Bob’s Red Mill Wheat Bran package)

1 1/2 cup whole wheat flour (I use white whole wheat for a milder flavor)
1 cup wheat bran
1/4 cup flaxseed meal
½ cup brown sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
1 cup dried cranberries
1 egg
½ cup milk
1 cup orange juice
½ cup oil
1 tsp. vanilla
2 tsp. honey (or another squeeze if you like your muffins on the sweet side)
Orange zest (a few scrapes)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix together dry ingredients (first 8 ingredients) and set aside. In a large bowl, whisk together egg, milk, orange juice, oil, vanilla, honey and orange zest. Stir in dry ingredients until just combined. Spoon batter into greased muffin tins. Bake for 15 minutes or until firm and brown around the edges. Yields one dozen muffins.



  1. I'm not the biggest fan of orange-flavored things. Can you suggest a possible substitute for the OJ? Do you think extra milk could work or I guess apple juice?

    These definitely sound tasty & healthy!

  2. @Stacey - Hmmm, I think you could sub the orange juice with milk. Or, cut it out completely and reduce the amount of flour and bran a little. Play and around with it and let me know how it works out! :)